What are you reading? – McDonough Voice

Reviewer’s Name: Bill Thompson
Reviewer’s Occupation: Librarian
Book Title: Dangling Man
Book’s Author: Saul Bellow
Who did Saul Bellow, future Nobel prize winner, imagine himself to be when he wrote his first novel? Kafka it turns out. Dangling Man, Bellow’s first novel, is a tale of alienation, self-abasement, faceless institutions, and stolen socks. It is also funny and at times lushly beautiful.
The novel’s protagonist, Joseph, resigned his job, expecting to be drafted at any moment, only an obscure bureaucratic hiccup occurs that delays his induction for a year. Meanwhile, he can’t get his job back. This leaves him with plenty of time to prowl about Chicago, drinking, arguing with old friends, with his wife and with himself, conduct an extramarital affair and deal with a neighbor intent on stealing his wife’s perfume and his socks.
As far as Joseph can see, nothing in life is worth the price of admission—but then he is occasionally struck dumb by the beauty of it all. The fact there these brief moments of transcendence occur only make life seem more, not less, absurd. Yet Joseph goes on as do most of us, making the best of it.
Dangling Man is a slim novel whose style and content look forward to writers like William Gaddis, Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon and Woody Allen.
What Are You Reading? A project sponsored by the Friends of the Macomb Public Library District to encourage reading and book discussion in our community. Would you like to share your favorite books with other readers? Please send your name, occupation or grade level, book author and title, and a brief statement about the book and why you liked it to Kate Joswick, c/o Macomb Public Library, or [email protected]